Sunday, 2 March 2008

One of the most misrepresented professions...

[From Information isn't reserved for books by Houston Chronicle's Carolyn Feibel.]

Another good example of the "we're not all old spinsters with horn-rimmed glasses and tight hair buns" style of librarian related news piece. In fact, it quotes a past president of ALA as saying:
librarians are subject to outdated stereotypes: "fusty, bookish, sensible shoes, eyeglasses and not particularly friendly. We're really the polar opposite of that right now."
Good point, but it makes me think, "So what is the polar opposite of 'bookish, sensible shoes, [and] eyeglasses'?" Sports-loving, Reebok-wearing, and sans glasses? That's not me. I read. I wear Doc Martens (VERY comfortable and the style I wear looks business-ey). I wear glasses. And trust me, there are still several of the stereotypes walking around. Just like any profession, most of us don't fit the typical image but we're not the furthest thing from it.

And I was always confused about librarians being seen as not friendly. Yeah, the clerks behind the circulation desk are often grouchy... try their job for a day and try not being grouchy. But librarians HAVE to be comfortable with people. That's pretty much all we do: connect people with information. Without people, we'd have nothing to do!

Later in the article, the director of Houston Public Library is quoted as saying, "You can take your coffee around the library, and nobody's going to tell you to be quiet." I don't know about you but it's still possible to be loud enough for you to be disturbing those around you, even the ones working in groups. But she's right in saying that libraries have to stop being just the building with the books. IN-FORM-ATION. That's what we're about. Remember it, kids. Write it down. Then come ask us for it.

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